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Patients that need answers use the Roulette Wheel to decide about a particular treatment.

The researchers led by Jerome Hoffman, from the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown how the roulette wheel could help patients decide among different treatment option. The researchers have developed an innovative new visual tool. The new tool, described in PLoS Medicine, presents the risks and benefits of these options by using the roulette wheel. By spinning the wheel the patients can directly visualize the chances of a treatment presented to him by the physicians.

Thus this shows that by actually spinning the roulette wheel, a healthy 65-year old man can help decide whether he will be screened or not. The screening is needed for prostate cancer. The test is a blood test called the PSA. The man should decide to get a PSA test, he may lower his risk of dying from prostate cancer but he also greatly increases the chances of becoming incontinent from prostate cancer treatment.

Conclusions reached by the researchers, shared decision making has been practiced as an ideal way for physicians and patients to join together whenever there are decisions that need to be made.

Hence, the need for the shared decision making, they say, a physician has a traditional way of presentation the risks and benefits of different treatments in the form of numbers, which many people misunderstood. A physician said, "It is hard for anyone to comprehend the difference between a 7% chance and an 8% chance, and this is exacerbated when we try to deal in more extreme probabilities, such as 3 in 10,000."

However, the researchers strongly believed that the roulette wheel can be an important device in shared decision making because it gives the patients options which they can visualize rather than understanding numerical figures.

PLoS Medicine, Public Library of Science, publishes original research that enhances the understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org/.

The PLoS a freely available public resource is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to make the world's scientific and medical literature. All published works of PLoS Medicine are open for public citation. Everything is available without cost to download and redistribute - for otherwise use it is subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors.

 

August 20, 2006
Max Baker

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